The Facebook phone: Is it real this time?

HTC logoWe’re all still recovering from the recent Facebook changes – the pictures are larger, and now there’s a treat of video ads (sigh). But now having altered the site’s design, as well as the method from which it gathers News Feed info, Facebook is holding onto one more bombshell to throw at its users: there  still might a Facebook Phone in the works.

To be put into production by HTC, this hypothetical phone would be made almost exclusively to integrate best with Facebook’s site (new features and all), and to host a direct-to-Facebook button. Rumoredly named “the Myst,” this new phone is set to have many standard HTC features (large touchscreen, sleek, and user-friendly) with the Facebook additions being a happy bonus to smartphone users. It’s also a great excuse to roll out a new design, misspell a word, and sell altered versions of what millions already own.

The Phone Who Cried Wolf

But before Facebook fanatics get too excited about the forthcoming (and perhaps not real) phone, let’s look into HTC’s track record; their history with announcements isn’t exactly spot-free. After all, this isn’t the first time they’ve talked about releasing a Facebook phone. Who else remembers the ChaCha? Or the Status? Both floated around in 2011 and early 2012, but neither came to be anything more than blogs and tech lovers’ murmurs.

Further fueling the fire is the fact that neither Facebook nor HTC will comment on the speculation of such a phone. Both released almost verbatim comments stating that they “don’t comment on rumors.” This is the same tactic they pulled with the previous mentions.

Sure both parties could have nothing to do with the potential Facebook phone – this time or back in 2011. But they could also be trying to raise hype and/or get a feel for customer interest in such a phone. With this consistent of a trend, it’s hard to say either way. What the instances are pulling off flawlessly, though, is questioning our faith in HTC’s product announcements and ability to respond to growing trends.

However, with the extreme popularity of Facebook, smartphones, and the increased ability to access the internet, it’s safe to say any combination of the three will be well sold. Now all that’s needed is the actual phones – or at least the promise that they’ll exist – for users to update and “like” their way through any mobile situation.

Windows Phone 7 Alert: HTC Connection Settings app is bad for your phone

HTC Quietly Evil

Bad News Bears“HTC Connection Settings” is a free app from HTC which comes pre-loaded on some of HTC’s Windows Phone 7 mobile phones and can be downloaded from the company’s “HTC Hub” app or from the Marketplace. Unfortunately, this app suddenly decided that my phone didn’t need data access anymore – talk about bad news.

After enduring more than 6 hours without any data access, I decided to give Verizon a call and see what was going on. With a stroke of luck, Verizon’s Customer Support was very helpful and friendly (unlike some of my past dealings). The gentleman from customer support walked me through several troubleshooting steps, including reprogramming my phone on Verizon’s network, and was able to effectively rule out the idea that it was a problem on their end. He then told me to make sure I had all of my important data  backed up, because we needed to reset my phone to the factory defaults. After securing a backup, I went ahead and reset my phone.

I was skeptical that this would produce anything more than another headache for me, but to my surprise my 3G connection was then fully functioning. This led me to believe that it was either a glitch in Microsoft’s Windows Phone  7 OS (which is unlikely, since such an issue would be widely reported), or a problem with an app I had installed. After doing some internet sleuthing, I came across several forum posts about the same issue being related to the “HTC Connection Settings” app after installing the Mango update.

If your Windows Phone has “HTC Connection Settings” installed on it, I recommend that you remove it immediately. If you come across this app in the Marketplace, do not download it. It’s a pointless app that serves no real purpose anyway, so I doubt anyone would miss it. I know I don’t.

Has anyone else experienced the same issue? Let me know in the comments section below.

The Best Sense ROMs For Your HTC Android Smartphone

If you have an HTC smartphone and are anything like me, you just can’t seem to get away from HTC’s Sense user interface. It’s sleek, intuitive, and has way more features than what the stock Android UI offers.

While some custom ROMs like CyanogenMod are quite popular, I could never quite stick with them because of the absence of HTC Sense. However, you can still get all the great features of a custom ROM without sacrificing the goodies of the Sense UI. Here are a few options:

Note: Before you can flash custom ROMs, you’ll need to root your Android device first. Use Google to find a how-to guide that’s catered towards your specific phone. If you’re still not sure that you want to root your Android device, here are a few reasons that might change your mind.


This is currently my primary ROM, mostly because I like the subtle changes to the theme that make it a bit darker, and the developer does a good job keeping it up to date. If you like the stock look of the Sense UI, but want it to look a bit more sleeker without overdoing it, this is the ROM for you.

Redemption ROM


This is a fantastic ROM for those that want the completely stock look of the Sense UI, but don’t want the bloatware that comes with it. It’s also a good choice for users who are new to flashing custom ROMs because of its easy maintenance tools like Virtuous Buddy and EZ-Customizer.


The best thing I like about SkyRaider is the recent apps in the notification pull-down menu. Surprisingly, I like it better than holding down the home button to view recent apps. SkyRaider also updated the stock Android keyboard to the Gingerbread keyboard.

SkyRaider ROM

Uncommon Sense

If you want the best of both worlds (Sense UI and stock Android), Uncommon Sense is the ROM to use. It includes the wonderful widgets the Sense users love along with the look of the stock Android UI. It’s also packed with all the essential root apps and includes many browser choices by default (SkyFire, xScope and Dolphin HD).

Uncommon Sense ROM


If speed and smoothness is the selling point for you, IncROM might be up your alley. It’s probably the fastest and smoothest ROM I’ve tried. Plus, the developer is pretty quick to release fixes for bugs, so dev support is not a problem with this ROM.



The main feature of the Warm ROM is that it’s pretty. If you’re an artistic type, you’ll enjoy Warm. It also has a ton of mods (thanks to the Warm community) that you can install separately and play around with.


Warm ROM



Verizon Moving Away from the Droid Eris?

Owners of the HTC Droid Eris have been seeing some dark predictions (specifically here, here, here, here, here, and here) these past few months as Verizon appears to phase it out for future phones like the Motorola Droid X and the Motorola Droid 2.  So far the phone has been removed from Verizon’s website and there are hints that HTC will not be releasing Android 2.2, the newest version of the Android operating system, on it.

But seeing as these are mostly rumors and leaks, it is hard to tell what is actually going to happen.

How long should a phone stay on the market?  The Eris was released back in November 2009 and has been the affordable conterpart to the Motorola Droid for quite some time now.  It may not have had the fastest processor or hardware, but it still handles the Android OS with relative ease.

Whether or not these rumors are true, this Eris owner will not be trading in anytime soon.

How to Install Google Android on the HTC Kaiser (AT&T Tilt)

htc-androidEdit: Android can now be directly installed to NAND on the Kaiser. Flashing to NAND will allow direct booting to Android and complete replacement of Windows Mobile. NAND installation requires a HardSPL, while the method described below does not. For details on NAND flashing, please check this thread.

Since its launch, Google’s open-source linux-based mobile OS, Android, has been a welcome addition to the market. During the past few months, enterprising hackers have been working to get Android running on phones which do not natively run the OS.

There are currently a number of phones which are capable of running Android, and this guide will specifically walk through the details of getting Android running on the HTC Kaiser (AT&T Tilt).

Things you’ll need:

  • A supported phone
  • At least a 512 MB micro SD card formatted with FAT 32 with enough space for the Android files.

Android requires a set of files in order to run properly:

  • zImage – This is the linux kernel
  • system.img/sqsh – This file stores the UI and some OS files
  • default.txt – This file has the linux boot parameters.
  • Initrd.gz – init ramdisk
  • rootfs.img/sqsh – Root filesystem image
  • user.conf – This may also be included. It allows you to run shell scripts upon system startup.
  • haret.exe – this is the Linux bootloader. You’ll need this to boot Android from within Windows Mobile.
  • media folder – This contains android default ringtones and other media.

Limitations of current Android builds on the HTC Kaiser:

  • Directly booting to Android (Must boot via haret.exe)
  • The camera does not work
  • Bluetooth does not work

A Few Notes Before Installation

By installing Android, you will not actually replace Windows Mobile. You must boot to Android via the linux bootloader (haret.exe). While it is an inconvenience to not have direct booting to Android available, this does mean that you can run Android on a completely unmodified phone.

Installing Android

Current packages can be found in the xda-developers forums:

To install, unpack the package or assemble the files needed and place them in the root of your SD card. Once done, open haret.exe and select Run. Android should begin booting at this point. If it is your first boot it may take longer since it needs to create the data.img file which will contain all of your downloaded apps and settings.

Once booted, you’ll be prompted to login to your Google account. If you do not have one, there is an option to create one. In order to login or create a Google account, you’ll need to ensure the data connection is working. If it is not working you can skip the account login process and enable your data connection.

If your connectivity is not working after the initial installation, you may need to update or add your carrier APN. To do so, navigate to Settings > Wireless Controls > Mobile networks > Access Point Names then click the menu button and select New APN and enter in your carrier APN info (APN Carrier Info is available here: Once the APN information is in, you can test the connectivity with the Modem application.

With the data connection working, you can then login to your Google account. This will pull down all of your emails and contact information from Gmail. To ease the process of getting your contacts into your Android phone, you can import them into Gmail. (Guide here:

Once you’re connected with your Google account you can enjoy the full glory of your new Android phone.

I highly recommend browsing through the market and checking out the apps available. Here are a few of my favorite picks:

  • Twidroid – Twitter Application
  • ConnectBot – SSH Terminal Application
  • Google Voice – Google Voice Application
  • The Weather Channel – Weather Application
  • Pandora – Pandora Music Application

If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments.